Lake St. Louis fire putting $8 million bond to use -

Lake St. Louis fire putting $8 million bond to use

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Fire Chief Clinton Gussner's hat (credit: KMOV) Fire Chief Clinton Gussner's hat (credit: KMOV)

In August 2016, taxpayers approved an $8 million bond issue for the Lake St. Louis Fire Department. Now, the fire chief is showing them the new gear and equipment they've bought with that money.

"NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) mandates you don’t use it after 10 years and all of our gear is 10 years or older," said Chief Clinton Gussner. "They normally have a five year cycle they’d like you to use. Use it for five years and then move it to reserve so you have two sets. But we never had that. We had two sets of gear but they were both 10 years old."

Now, they are replacing it piece by piece. The replacement jackets, boots, and gloves are made of a new material that is less restrictive and will allow firefighters to move faster.

"It’s now a lighter weight gear. It’s cut the weight in half. Whatever we can do to help with fatigue, weight stress in the summer time, or cold emergencies in winter time, it will actually help them with all of that," said Gussner.

New hoods are part of that new gear.

"They have done a lot of studies on cancer and they’ve found the particulates in the hoods aren’t able to be washed out. So the new hoods are supposed to be more user friendly and more washer friendly and the carcinogens are supposed to come out of the hoods and not stay in them," said Gussner.

Money from the bond issue will also help them replace all of the fire department's hoses.

"Most of our hoses were 20-30 years old. With the new hoses, they're lighter. That will help with the firefighters not to strain and prevent back injuries," said Gussner.

That will also cut weight on the truck, which will help with fuel efficiency and reduce wear and tear.

Another key purchase was a new set of rescue equipment, also known as Jaws of Life.

"With the new tools, they are now battery operated so they are more mobile. We can use them in any application, not only vehicle extrication but (also) if we ever had to do a building collapse or something like that," said Gussner.

That equipment will go on a new truck. The rescue pumper is expected to arrive later this summer.

All of this is just Phase One. Phase Two will be moving into a new building and consolidating into one. Gussner said that is still at least two years away.

"We are still doing our due diligence to make sure we are minding our pennies and making sure what we do buy is a good quality fit for not only the firefighters but also the community."

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